Having conquered the world of made-for-TV home remodeling and setting the bar for being the adorable, hard-working parents, Chip and Joanna Gaines have announced they will open a restaurant in their home base of Waco. The couple purchased the iconic Elite Cafe last year, and as they do with old homes, are updating the almost-1oo-year-old institution. They plan to reopen the cafe near the end of the year under the name The Magnolia Table, with a focus on breakfast, brunch and lunch.
Joana gives an update on their vision for the space on her blog:
We’ve spent a good amount of time finalizing the design of the new restaurant- from carefully choosing finishes, textures, and paint colors, to designing the tables, chairs, and light fixtures. I love getting to bring all of the design details together. The building was actually recognized as a historic landmark about 20 years ago, which essentially ensures that aspects of the original character stay intact. Figuring out how to restore the building and seamlessly incorporate new and creative design elements into the mix while staying true to the original features has been one of my favorite parts of the design process.
A Texas classic has a new look. The Stagecoach Inn in Salado, Texas reopened yesterday following a year-long renovation from developers Clark Lyda, Austin Pfiester and David Hays and Austin-based La Corsha Hospitality Group (Mattie’s at Green Pastures, Second Bar + Kitchen). Executive chef Justin Holler heads the kitchen, which promises to “stay true to its roots while offering a fresh take on the restaurant’s beloved classics.”
The classic prix fixe menu is available, and includes items like 1861 Hushpuppies with malted aioli and chicken fried steak with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans; and an a la carte menu features offerings like deep-fried bacon with onion jam and Texas toast and a Tomahawk pork chop with black-eyed peas.
The property originally opened as the Shady Villa Hotel in 1861, and reportedly has hosted an array of notables that includes Sam Houston, Robert E. Lee, George Custer and Jesse James. Dion and Ruth Van Bibber converted the establishment to the Stagecoach Inn in 1943. The new owners bought the property in 2015 and brought in Austin-based architects Clayton + Little to reimagine the space. Currently, only the new restaurant is operational, but the Stagecoach plans to have its 75 hotel rooms and extra event space ready by next year.
“Stagecoach Inn has been a sacred retreat for locals and travelers and we’re thrilled to welcome everyone to the renewed and restored restaurant,” said co-developer Clark Lyda. “This project has been such a gratifying experience and we’re anxious for guests to see how our team has preserved the property’s history while improving its atmosphere of gracious hospitality.”
North Texas is going to get a taste of Central Texas. A really famous taste. Scott Roberts plans to open a location in Grapevine in 2018. Details are slim as of now, but the restaurant is planned to seat 450 and feature 6,000 square feet of patios and decks, with large trees and views of Denton Creek. An exact address has not been released.
Denizens of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are undoubtedly familiar with the Central Texas legend that has been smoking for more than 50 years, but they may be happy to know that a recent poll shows that Austinites prefer Salt Lick to any other barbecue restaurant in the area.
Southern restaurant Fixe is heading north. But not all of the way into Yankee territory. Owners Keith House and chef James Robert will open a Fort Worth location this fall at The Shops at Clear Fork. The 6100 square-foot restaurant will feature an open kitchen, patio, wine room, bar and two private dining spaces.
With Robert’s attention turned to the new location, Fixe announced that Adam Puksorius will take over executive chef duties at the downtown Austin location. The chef’s resume includes time at Asti, Mark’s American Cuisine in Houston, and Eddie V’s, where he worked with House and Robert.
“Having worked alongside Keith and James in the past I know that their commitment to quality and hospitality mirrors my own,” Puksorius said. “As they set their sights on opening the new location, I look forward to serving up the experience that guests have come to know and love from Fixe while also expanding the core menu with new dishes and bar collaborations that reflect my passion for progressive Southern cuisine.”
Austin chef Paul Qui is expanding his demi empire to Houston. The co-founder of East Side King and owner of Kuneho, a re-imagining of the eponymous restaurant he first opened in East Austin in 2013, will open Aqui at 520 Westheimer Road in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston later this year.
“The focus is on wood and wok cooking with a heavy emphasis on meats and seafood,” Qui told the Statesman. “There will be a big raw bar and open kitchen with counter seating and full bar with cocktails. I’m super excited about the kitchen; it will be the first full kitchen suite that I designed from scratch.”
Qui opened Kuneho the first week of January following the shuttering of Qui, which he closed about six months after being arrested for assault.
As with the restaurant he opened in 2013, Aqui is being designed by A Parallel Architecture, and the chef posted a photo of the rendering today on Instagram (see below). We spoke to the chef last year about his battles with addiction, his arrest and his plans for the future. You can read that here.
San Marcos has long been in need of some better dining options, and it seems as though a bit of relief will come next year, when Austin-based Blue Dahlia Bistro opens at 107 Hopkins St. on the town’s downtown historic square.
Owners Amy and Sam Ramirez, who have split their time between Austin and San Marcos since they married in 2008, plan to open the bistro in January. The French-inspired restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, with a menu that includes items like croissants, frittaras, crêpes salade Niçoise, a selection of tartines (open-faced sandwiches), and traditional French entrees such as beef bourguignon, mussels Provençal, ratatouille and coq au vin.
“Our mission has always been to create a restaurant that serves as a dining destination, but also acts as a community hub for friends and neighbors to come together, relax and enjoy a leisurely meal,” Amy Ramirez said. “Blue Dahlia is our answer to the casual bistros that act as community centers in small villages and country towns throughout Europe.”
Blue Dahlia in San Marcos will be located in an 18th-century building at the corner of Hopkins and North Guadalupe streets, and like the original on East Sixth Street in Austin, it will feature indoor and outdoor seating, including a front patio and back garden.
“Opening Blue Dahlia in San Marcos is definitely a passion project for us,” Sam Ramirez said. “It has been an honor and pleasure raising my family in San Marcos and we are thrilled to bring new business to this growing town and offer a new dining destination for our wonderful community.”